Friday, September 25, 2009

Illustration Friday: Pattern

“Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.” - Alfred North Whitehead

I haven't done an Illustration Friday piece in a long time, but today's theme seemed appropriate to my latest project. Art Dolls.

My father passed back in January. The last several months have found my mother and I sorting through a mountain of my father's stuff. One of the things my father was bog on was shoes. He had over 300 pairs of shoes, which we have ebayed and consigned and given away. In the process, we pulled out dozens and dozens of these shoe stretcher things. I was packing them up when I was seized by an art idea, which usually assures that my own children will have as much stuff to sort through when I die as my mother and I have since my father's death.

I brought home several boxes of these shoe stretchers. A trip to the local Habitat Re-Store and Goodwill added lots of other odds and ends, and Michael's and Lowe's rounded out the project needs. So far, I am having a lot of fun cobbling together [no pun intended] these funky dolls.

They are built on wooden shoe stretchers with spindles from a textile plant for the legs. The eyes and mouth are collaged from Ladies Home Journal magazines from the 50's and 60's. There are also curtain rod finials, a wrought iron drawer pull, handmade nails, leather scraps, plastic and metal serving spoons, a cabinet hardware backplate, string, screws, matte varnish and tacks. I plan to eBay them starting next week. I hope you'll stay tuned.

So what is the pattern? For me, I am almost always drawing people, usually portraits. These dolls are kind of like portraits for me, albeit in an obvious departure from my usual work. So I suppose people are my pattern, the thing to which I continuously return, the thing that makes me feel connected.

Purchase shoe stretchers for your own dolls at


Jennifer R.D. said...

These dolls are so cool and what a great idea to recycle all the shoe stretchers! If you continue this series you should submit them to ARTDOLL magazine or one of the new magazines that feature art from recycled objects.

Ascender Rises Above said...

very cool. it has been a long time since i visited. enjoyed reading the squidoo article; though not sure I understand how one would attach an ad.

Leola - Southshoreartist said...

I love art dolls and these are incredible!!!!!! So unique :)

Alberta said...

Your art doll is brilliant and the most special I've ever seen. I'll bet your dad would be delighted. and what a cool way to honor and memorialize him!

ottoblotto said...

Y'all are all so sweet! I imagine my father would be [or is] horrified at the thought of all his shoe stretchers becoming art dolls, but hopefully he will be over it by the time I pass.

ValGalArt said...

pretty darn cool! I was expecting one of your amazing faces and was not disappointed :) really clever too!

Alice Stroppel said...

I'm so glad you decide to use your fathers shoe stretchers to make these characters. I love them. I did something like it with my husbands grandmother's kitchen items and polymer clay.
And don't worry your kids will be happy you you saved a bit of their grandfather.